Hillsborough, North Carolina for the This Old House 2013 Best Old House Neighborhoods « »

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Population: 6,105
House styles: Federal, Georgian, Colonial Revival, Greek Revival, and Craftsman, along with some late-Victorian-era homes
Expect to pay: In the historic district, which has houses dating to 1754, prices range from $130,000 for a fixer-upper to $850,000 for a refurbished beauty

This close-knit river town is welcoming a growing community of young families and retired couples. Founded in 1754, it was a political hub for North Carolina during the colonial era and Revolutionary War period, and was home to William Hooper, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence; his house still stands here. In the early 20th century, Hillsborough became a textile town, though its mills, like so many across the Northeast and the South, are now shuttered. Today, its proximity to larger employment and cultural hubs—thriving Raleigh and Research Triangle Park are a 45-minute drive—makes it a viable alternative to those larger cities; DIYers have been drawn to its well-priced fixer-uppers, which include early 20th-century mansions built by factory owners; more modest "mill houses," where workers lived; and a smattering of older homes built in the city's earliest days. The downtown area features a mix of local businesses, including the java joint Cup A Joe and Purple Crow Books, as well as eateries and boutiques. The combination of affordability, the small-town pace, and access to job centers makes it a tempting find for people from all walks of life.

Among the best for: The South, Small Towns, Retirees, Family-Friendly, First-Time Buyers, American Heritage
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